Beauty and the Beast With a Twist: The Story Behind The Flaw in Raffaele’s Revenge
by Annie West, author of The Flaw in Raffaele’s Revenge
I love hearing how authors get the inspiration for their stories. Behind the scenes glimpses are such fun. So I thought I’d share some of the background of my latest The Flaw in Raffaele’s Revenge.
First up, strangely enough, I didn’t think of it as a revenge story. I still don’t, since the revenge aspect isn’t between the hero and the heroine. In fact it came in much later when I was working out what would bring them together. What I had first, and I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of years, is the idea of writing a reverse Beauty and the Beast story.
I’ve written a few B&B stories and loved them, and I thought it would be enormous fun to write a version where the hero is the good looking one and the roles are reversed, at least on the surface. From there I began to wonder what would happen if a scarred, reclusive heroine was pitted against, and fell for, a man who’d been named the Sexiest Man in the World.
Instantly I felt sympathy for my poor, wounded heroine and wondered how she’d fare. The only trouble was I still didn’t really have a story.
At that point I was lucky enough to travel from my home in Australia all the way to Europe. Along the way I managed a far-too-short catch up with fellow Presents author, Abby Green. In all the years we’ve known each other Abby and I have only met a couple of times and only for very short periods. So we spent our whole time talking (of course) and discussed our writing (of course).
I mentioned that I didn’t know what to write next–a reverse B&B story or an office romance and Abby, to my delight, asked why I didn’t combine the two. Why didn’t I think of that? After that my brain just wouldn’t stop till I’d fleshed out an idea for the book.
So Raffa became Lily’s employer and the pair worked together, first in his New York office and then on a lovely Caribbean island resort. Did I mention I loved the location research for this book?
The other inspiration I had as I wrote was a memory of a younger Jude Law in ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’. Did you see it? When I pictured Raffa, my golden-haired, golden-toned hero, I had him in mind–all casual charm and elegance, and bright and attractive as summer sunshine. And those eyes! But unlike that film character, Raffa is streetwise and driven, a man who’s learned not to trust.
He needs Lily to help him financially destroy the man he believes killed his sister. He forces a stubborn but gifted recluse out of her hideaway to work on this all-important project. Lily resents him as she’s dragged from her safe haven and back into a world where she has to show her scarred face to strangers. To her horror she finds herself attracted to Raffaele, knowing he’d never look at a woman as plain as her.
Lily is different to every woman Raffa has known. She treats him not as a sex symbol or a meal ticket, but with an indifference that makes him want to uncover her secrets. What he doesn’t expect is to be attracted. Soon he wants to protect and support her. My imperfect, selfish Raffa becomes the man who helps Lily embrace a new life.
But the Beauty and the Beast theme runs more deeply. Raffa may look like he has everything a man could ever want, but inside he hides scars uglier than Lily’s. I loved the fact it was gentle, protesting, scarred Lily who helped heal the Beast within him.
I do hope you get the chance to read The Flaw in Raffaele’s Revenge and that, if you do, you have as much fun with Raffa and Lily as I did. Feel free to contact me and let me know!
Relentless Italian Raffaele Petri needs reclusive researcher Lily Nolan to see his revenge plans come to fruition. But the damaged beauty is feisty, argumentative and all too intriguing to be ignored!
Scarred as a child, Lily shut herself away from cruel prying eyes, so working for a man as breathtakingly handsome as Raffaele makes her own physical imperfections harder to bear. Until Raffaele’s kisses awaken the untouched woman inside.
As Raffaele’s retribution draws closer, Lily must use her newfound strength to help him release the torment eating at his soul. But will Raffaele risk his vengeance for her love?